With the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times.
The first hadith from Imam An-Nawawi’s (rah) “40 Hadith”, from Bukhari and Muslim:
On the authority of Ameer ul-Mu’mineen (the Commander of the Faithful), Abu Hafs `Umar ibn al-Khattaab (ra), who said: “I heard the Prophet (saw) say”:
“Actions are but by intentions, and every man shall have only that which he intended. Thus, he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that which he migrated.”
I travel a lot. For someone like me, who takes advantage of his mother’s cooking and his father’s work ethic, it’s a depressing feeling. But it’s probably one of the natural consequences when a person makes the decision to pursue education far from home, like I did. School alone has taken me to Riverside, St. Maarten, New York City, and now Bakersfield.
Another consequence of traveling is that you meet a lot of people and you see a lot of things along the way. A person living alone away from home is forced to make important decisions as he enters crossroads in his life- which types of people he wants to be associated with, what kinds of activities take up his time, and especially what kind of food he eats, since his mom doesn’t cook for him anymore ;).
I often reflect on the experiences that I have had in my short life, and I am beginning to discover that there are many important lessons that I have learned from people I have met- whether they are people I still converse with today or with people who I have only met for 10 seconds. It is an amazing fact of life that I have learned- if one tries hard enough, one can learn life lessons from every person he meets, passes by, or loves- at anytime. If one applies this concept broadly, they can even find lessons in the movies they watch, sports they play, books they read, and more. If we’re willing to learn, the teachers we can learn from are many, and the possibilities are endless!
To be more specific, by “life lessons” I mean lessons that give me a “spiritual boost”, (or as Al Maghribi’s put it: “Iman Rush”) and inspire me to be a better Muslim. However, “life lessons” are not limited to Islamic lessons; but they are in fact lessons that inspire me to be a better person. I see no contradiction between these “life lessons” inspiring me to be a better citizen of humanity and at the same time inspiring me to be a better Muslim- for me this is one and the same end.
To properly reflect on these lessons, I have decided to create this blog to share my experiences and reflections. My experiences as a Muslim, as a Pakistani, first generation growing up in the US, as a student, with people that I have met, and people I look up to. Lessons learned from traveling and being at home, from our favorite movies and favorite sports, to the food that we eat and the texts that we send, from the heroes of history, and most importantly, from our relationship with Allah.
Many Muslims, myself included, are sometimes afraid to derive Islamic lessons from everyday life- because we are limited by our knowledge in that we haven’t taken the proper time to study our religion. Though this is probably true, we cannot handicap ourselves and depend solely on others to give us that “spiritual boost”- or inspiration- that we often need. Sometimes we only need to look at our own surroundings to give us that boost. To put it another way, the signs of Allah are everywhere- but sometimes we need to be reminded that they are there- and how beautiful they make our lives.
I don’t know or claim that I have internalized these lessons from these experiences. It is the aim of the posts on this blog to give me spiritual boosts, and maybe even you the reader, those boosts. Perhaps there will be a reader who is like me, who believes there may be something to learn from the reflections of this average Joe.
However at the end of the day, whether we write, speak, or reflect about it, what matters are the actions that follow. That is why belief is tied to action, and every action is by intention.
ADDITIONAL LINKS REGARDING THE HADITH OF INTENTION